Friday, June 8, 2012

Bishop, Bakeries & Bristlecones

Our first day driving the MH in awhile.  Another 50 miles, more of less, brings us a little further south to Bishop.  We stay at Brown's Millpond Campground, a great recommendation by many, and about 6 miles north of town.  The place is packed with fishermen flocking to the Owens River and the trout are plentiful.  We were the lucky recipients of two just-caught whoppers given by our next door neighbors and barbecued the same evening.  A delicious welcome indeed....

Howard models dinner!

But there is another delicious destination in town that is world-famous, and that would be..ta-da..Schat's Bakery, another must-do suggested by many that helped us plan this trip.  We arrived early to find standing room only crowds that were ordering and/or browsing the aisles of fresh-baked goodies.  We settled on muffins and lattes and crammed in amongst the happy indulgers.  Schat's would become a regular stop on our daily outings; sandwiches for picnic lunches, then later on our return, a refreshing gelato, and fresh-baked bread to go!

Bishop is a small city of approx. 3500 along Highway 395.  We were surprised at how prosperous and thriving the town is with the primary businesses being tourism, recreation, mining, and agriculture.  There were not the now-familiar sights of for sale signs, closed, and out of business notices.  The streets and stores were bustling, and we did our part to help the economy!

Since photography is such a passion of ours, albeit as amateurs, Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Gallery provided a magical, visual tour of some of the most magnificent landscape photography imaginable, a lot of which is focused on the Eastern Sierras.  Galen wrote, "No other place has such a readily accessible diversity of light and landforms; it is a state of mind, the original state of mind, the one in which we evolved."  The Rowells relocated their multi-faceted business to Bishop in 2001.  They were killed in a small plane crash in 2002.    For the last 11 years the Mountain Light Gallery has included a guest artist's gallery where many highly respected photographers display and also lend their talents to the acclaimed Workshop series.  Now that is one workshop that calls to me...some day!

From the Galen Rowell online Gallery...Magnificent!

Now wrap your mind around the existence of a living organism over 4,000 years old, growing back when the Egyptians were building pyramids!  Standing as ancient sentinels high atop the White Mountains of the Inyo National Forest, the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine has achieved immense scientific, cultural and scenic importance. 

From high atop our perch in the White Mts.

A viewpoint along the road

We have seen a few Bristlecone pines in the past on visits to Bryce Canyon and other high sierra locations, but never this oldest of groves, the Methuselah and Schulman Groves, that had us climbing once again to nosebleed altitudes from 9,000 to 12,000' where these bizarre trees dominate the scene of a most difficult environment.  We chose the one mile hike around the Schulman Grove which though short in disance had us breathing heavy and breathless from this most incredible scenery.  Hope you enjoy our hike through this ancient grove.

There is still life in these old guys

Count the rings of life

Colors, swirls

Not to the summit yet

Just look at this beauty!

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